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Artemis 1 Blasts Off To The Moon & Beyond! Spectacular Launch Illuminates The Space Coast

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

Artemis 1 has launched, history has been made!

NASA's Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft have lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in spectacular style.

The Space Coast lit up in the early hours of this morning as NASA’s majestic new rocket soared into space for the first time in the early hours of Wednesday, lighting up the night sky and accelerating on a journey that will go around the moon and back.

This flight, evoking the bygone Apollo era, is a crucial test for NSA’s Artemis program that aims to put astronauts, after five decades, back on the moon.

An estimated 100,000 people gathered in Brevard County to watch the historic Artemis launch from Launch Complex 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, which officialy launched Wednesday, November 16, at 1.47 a.m.

Artemis 1 Goes Back To The Moon & Beyond

NASA’s Artemis I mega moon rocket illuminated the night sky as 8.8 million pounds of thrust from the most powerful rocket ever built was heard and felt for miles throughout Central Florida.

At 1.47 a.m. Eastern time, the four engines on the rocket’s core stage ignited, along with two skinnier side boosters. As the countdown hit zero, clamps holding the rocket down let go, and the vehicle slipped Earth’s bonds.

A few minutes later, the side boosters and then the giant core stage dropped away. The rocket’s upper engine then ignited to carry the Orion spacecraft, where astronauts will sit during later missions, toward orbit.

Artemis 1 Goes Back To The Moon & Beyond! Spectacular Launch Illuminates The Space Coast

Despite the early-hour liftoff, Florida's Space Coast was jam packed with people from around the country who had gathered to witness the history of NASA's mega moon rocket taking off for the first time.

Artemis 1 Goes Back To The Moon & Beyond! Spectacular Launch Illuminates The Space Coast

As everyone waited with bated breath, a hydrogen fuel leak at 9.30 pm threatened to delay the third attempt to send Artemis I to the moon, two previous launch attempts – one in late August and the other in September – ended in launch scrubs due to technical issues with fueling the rocket with super-cold liquid hydrogen, which commonly leaks.

A team of specialists headed to the launch pad to tighten bolts on the valve by hand. The work took longer than expected, but just before 11 p.m., the crew headed back out from the pad after giving a thumbs-up to the cameras.

Separately, the Space Force worked to repair a bad ethernet switch that took a critical radar system offline.

Despite the setbacks, we then heard the words we al wanted to hear..

We are "go" for launch!

Launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson commented: "On behalf of all the men and women across our great nation who have worked to bring this hardware together, to make this day possible, and to the Artemis generation, this is for you.

"At this time, I give you 'go' to resume count and launch Artemis 1."

NASA’s Artemis I Launches From Kennedy Space Center

NASA’s Artemis I flight test is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and supporting ground systems.

This morning's historic launch was the first part of a three-stage mission which will likely take us up to at least 2025.

Artemis 1 has begun a 42-day uncrewed flight around the moon early today in what is designed as a litmus test for the huge rocket and Orion spacecraft that astronauts will eventually travel in.

The next Artemis mission, which is to take four astronauts on a journey around the moon but not to the surface, will launch no earlier than 2024.

Artemis III, in which two astronauts will land near the moon’s south pole, is currently scheduled for 2025

NASA’s Artemis I Launches From Kennedy Space Center


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